The Prophet

Edward Robert Hughes

Edward Robert Hughes

A talk with a friend made me stumble across an excerpt from the Prophet, that touched me deeply. It’s been such a long time since I read the book, that I hardly remember it. It was given to me as a gift after my mother passed away, and I was very young then, only 13 years old. I wish I remember who gave it to me.

I know I was in the living room at the time, and a woman was there, smiling as she handed me a black thin book, with golden letters. It felt like such a precious gift, even though I did not know her, did not know what it meant. I treasured it and read it slowly, feeling the beauty of the words. 

On Joy and Sorrow
The Prophet
by Khalil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.


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